[ Country-by-Country Reports ]
GEORGIA (TIER 1) [Extracted from U.S. State Dept Trafficking in
Persons Report, June 2009]
Georgia is a source and
transit country for women and girls trafficked within the country and to
Turkey, the UAE, Greece, Russia, Germany, and Austria for the purpose of
commercial sexual exploitation. Women and girls from Ukraine, Moldova,
Russia, and other former Soviet states are trafficked through Georgia to
Turkey, the UAE, and Western Europe. Men and women are trafficked within
Georgia for the purpose of forced labor. Men and women in the breakaway
regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which were outside of the
government’s control, are trafficked for the purpose of forced labor.
The Government of Georgia
fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
The government significantly increased its victim assistance funding to
$250,000 and modestly increased the number of victims assisted by
government-funded programs. Moreover, all convicted trafficking offenders
were given adequate prison sentences.
funding for victim assistance programs; increase the number of victims
identified and assisted; ensure that victims are not fined or otherwise
penalized for unlawful acts they may have committed as a direct result of being
trafficked; and continue strong efforts to investigate, prosecute, and
convict both labor and sex trafficking offenders.
The Government of Georgia demonstrated adequate law enforcement efforts
during the reporting period. Georgia prohibits all forms of trafficking in
persons through its Law on the Fight Against Trafficking in Persons, adopted
in April 2006, which prescribes penalties ranging from 7 to 20 years'
imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and are commensurate
with those for other grave crimes, such as rape. In 2008, the government
investigated 14 trafficking cases, compared to 37 investigations in 2007.
Authorities prosecuted 10 individuals for sex trafficking, compared to a
total of 18 individuals prosecuted in 2007. All 10 convicted trafficking
offenders were sentenced to time in prison; none received a suspended
sentence. The average sentence was 14 to 15 years’ imprisonment; two
convicted traffickers were sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment in 2008.
There were no reports of trafficking-related complicity of law enforcement
personnel from either NGOs or the government.
Georgia maintained its adequate victim assistance efforts over the reporting
period. The government provided $150,000 in funding for the support of two
trafficking shelters that provided full victim assistance, including medical
aid, psychological counseling, and legal assistance; victim assistance was
not conditional upon cooperating with law enforcement. The government
continued to implement a formal mechanism for its officials to identify and
refer victims for assistance. The government and IOM identified 21 victims in
2008, a significant drop from 48 trafficking victims identified in 2007. The
government provided shelter and comprehensive assistance to 10 victims,
compared to 12 victims in 2007. The government also provided one-time
compensation payments of $600 to five trafficking victims in 2008. Georgia
provided legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where
they would face hardship or retribution. Victims were encouraged to assist
law enforcement with trafficking investigations and prosecutions; 15 victims
assisted law enforcement during the reporting period. Generally victims were
not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being
Georgia maintained efforts to prevent trafficking through public awareness
campaigns and outreach activities, including meetings with university
students, journalists, and ethnic minority representatives. The government
distributed approximately 300,000 trafficking-awareness pamphlets at border
crossings over the reporting period. The government continued efforts to
reduce the demand for commercial sex acts through awareness campaigns that highlighted
Georgia’s law that punishes “clients” who benefit from the
services of trafficking victims.